Have you been injured in an accident that wasn’t your fault? Filing a personal injury claim can help you recover from the financial impact of expenses like medical care or time off work. If you’re thinking about making a personal injury claim, there’s no better representation than a reputable injury law firm like this one.
How do you determine whether an attorney is reputable? The pre-hire interview is a critical part of finding the right lawyer for your case. This interview is your chance to explore your potential counsel’s credentials, experience, and attitude towards the clientele. If you’re not sure what to ask, fear not. Here are ten questions you can pose to determine whether you’ve found the best lawyer for the job.
Table of Contents
- How much do your services cost?
- Will I be responsible for case-related costs if I lose?
- Are you able to take on my case?
- Have you been involved in a case like mine before?
- Do you have trial experience?
- Who would be handling my case?
- What level of participation do you expect from me?
- Do you have references from past clients?
- How long do cases like mine typically take to resolve?
- How will you keep me apprised of updates?
- Before you go
How much do your services cost?
The most common fee structure that personal injury attorney use is called a contingency fee basis. With this structure, clients pay nothing unless they receive monetary damages in their lawsuit.
Contingency fees can range significantly. These percentage-based fees usually fall somewhere between twenty to forty percent of the gross settlement, though top-tier law firms may charge even more. Ask your lawyer how they charge for services and make sure you understand the fee structure outlined in the retainer documents before signing anything binding.
Regardless of whether you win or lose, each case has a certain number of “case-related costs” or “out-of-pocket costs.” These may include expenses like filing fees, clerical activities, or medical record retrieval fees. Some lawyers charge you for case-related costs even if you lose, while others don’t.
Because paying these fees can significantly impact your financial gains, it’s critical to ask whether you’re responsible for them before committing to a personal injury attorney.
Are you able to take on my case?
The most experienced, successful attorney in the world is no use to you if they’re too busy to take your case. Reputable lawyers know their limits and stay away from instances where they lack the bandwidth to dedicate themselves fully.
In the case of big-name law firms, anyone you’re considering should have enough resources to handle your case. However, this question is an excellent one to ask a small firm or a one-person enterprise. The last thing you want is for your case to fall by the wayside because you accidentally hired an overburdened law firm.
Have you been involved in a case like mine before?
Experience matters in the legal world, and the best-case scenario is to hire a lawyer with plenty of experience litigating cases similar to yours. Ask your potential counsel how many personal injury cases they’ve litigated and what their success rate is. Most lawyers don’t have a one hundred percent success rate, but a positive record shows dedication, seriousness, and knowledge.
Do you have trial experience?
The vast majority of cases settle before trial, but a select few don’t. A reliable lawyer should prepare your case as though they expect to proceed to trial.
Your personal injury attorney should also have enough trial experience to be successful. It’s a common misconception that lawyers are in trial all the time, but the truth is that most rarely see the inside of a courtroom. Be sure to ask any potential candidates about their trial experience before signing on the dotted line.
Who would be handling my case?
If you’re considering a small firm, this question is less critical. The person you’re speaking to will likely be handling your case. But with more prominent firms, sometimes people are surprised to find that the person who ultimately takes their case is not the person they consulted with initially.
These firms often have several attorneys handling different stages of a case. More eyes on your case is typically a good thing, but it can make it difficult to contact your attorney directly. Ask for clarification about who will be working on your case during each phase to ensure seamless communication.
What level of participation do you expect from me?
You and your attorney will form a team, but ultimately your lawyer is the one in charge. Be sure you understand what level of participation this person expects from you.
Some people want to be very involved in their own case, which some lawyers are uncomfortable with or don’t allow. Other people may prefer to leave everything up to the attorney. This attitude is acceptable in most cases, but keep in mind that a certain level of collaboration is necessary on your part to obtain documents and official statements.
In other words, there’s plenty of room to be as involved as you like, but just make sure you’re on the same page about your roles.
Do you have references from past clients?
References are invaluable, especially if you’re trying to find the right online lawyer. But don’t rely on website materials alone to inform your decision, as it’s all too easy to post fake testimonials. Instead, ask the potential personal injury attorney to give you the contact information of a former client. Speak directly to this person to form an idea of what it’s like to work with the lawyer.
How long do cases like mine typically take to resolve?
Several different factors can influence the time it takes to resolve a case, but a lawyer should be able to give you a reasonably accurate estimate. Not only can asking this question help manage your expectations, but it can also give you an idea of how experienced the lawyer is. Seasoned lawyers can draw on personal experience to offer you a realistic timeline.
How will you keep me apprised of updates?
Communication is a critical aspect of the attorney-client relationship. You’ll be dealing with this person frequently over a possibly months-long period, so you want to ensure they communicate in a way that works for you.
Ask how you will be made aware of updates in your case. Is there someone who will take your calls? Who will it be? The attorney or a member of their staff? How frequently should you expect updates?
Some people want more or fewer updates, which means there’s no right or wrong answer to this question. However, it’s always a wise practice to ensure everyone is on the same page about the frequency of contact.
Before you go
Remember: a reputable lawyer will be able to answer your questions, set expectations, and put you at ease. Asking these ten questions will help you settle on the right lawyer to win your settlement.